Committing 21 turnovers, the second-most of the season, South Carolina women's basketball fell to Kentucky 65-57 on Thursday, breaking a nine-game win streak over the Wildcats.
Head coach Dawn Staley said after the game how disappointed she was in how many times the Gamecocks put the ball on the court. This is the highest number of turnovers since the Gamecocks' 69-57 win against Clemson on Nov. 15.
“We turned the ball over 21 times. Uncharacteristic of us as of lately. We just didn’t make good decisions out of it,” Staley said.
In addition, junior guard Te’a Cooper suffered an injury in the first quarter. She came back to the bench in the second half, but did not play. Staley did not have much information about Cooper's condition after the game.
"Just a sprained ankle,” Staley said. “I haven’t talked to any of the medical people yet. I just talked to her.”
The Gamecocks felt her absence for most of the game, as Cooper is one of the leaders on the team, according to Staley.
“We lost an experienced guard. And in situations like this you need an experienced guard, especially one that can attack the basket a little bit,” Staley said. "It did hurt us, not having her for a really large portion of the game."
South Carolina also had a poor night of shooting, only making 18 of 52 shots from the field.
Even though that is one of the lowest percentages of the season, Staley was more frustrated with the number of turnovers the Gamecocks committed in a crucial conference game.
“I thought we got good shots, but it’s the turnovers that kill you. It wasn’t that bad,” Staley said. “It could have been a lot worse. We just weren’t very good in it. We weren’t good at executing, we weren't good at getting the ball out of traps.”
Thursday’s loss was only the second SEC loss of the season, keeping South Carolina in second place in the SEC women’s basketball standings. The Gamecocks still have three more SEC games remaining in the regular season.
Staley and the players say they are disappointed, but are not going to let the loss deter them from accomplishing their season goals.
“We have to come in and regroup. Just focus on what we can control. We still got all our goals ahead of us. We get to play Mississippi State,” junior guard Tyasha Harris said. “We just gotta focus game-by-game and just hopefully continue to win from there on.”
South Carolina will look to bounce back from the loss on Sunday as the team travels to Knoxville, Tennessee, to take on the Volunteers for the first time this season. Tipoff is set for Sunday at 4 p.m. from Thompson-Boling Arena. The game can also be seen on ESPN2.